sticks and bricks

I originally wrote this September 18th, almost 3 months ago, sitting on my couch in the dark – I just couldn’t bring myself to publish it. As I typed, I tried to remind myself of the things that some very smart people told me – that there is no crying in real estate, that a house is just sticks and bricks, that there are new beginnings coming – I actually had every intention of printing this out and leaving it on the kitchen counter a month ago, the last time I walked out the front door of my house…

Dear De family,

Tonight as I held my baby in my arms in her little twin sized bed as she drifted off to sleep, I listened to her breaths slow and deepen, and I looked up and watched the pinwheels spinning from the ceiling, the same pinwheels I hammered eyelets into and hung from screws when I was pregnant.

hanging pinwheels

I dreamt of this little baby growing up in this house. We would live here forever and she would bring home boyfriends that we hated and I’d catch her smoking out in one of the sheds and as I grew old and gray she’d come over for Sunday dinner, a tradition I carry on with my parents now, and she’d tell us she was getting married, or having a little one of her own.

When you told me the other day, the day I walked you through my house on your showing and told you how wonderful it was and how much I would beg steal and borrow to keep it, you told me that you understood, that you wanted a house that you could live in forever. And as I watched your 3 little ones laughing and running in the backyard, and claiming their bedrooms and wandering around like the house was theirs already, I knew. I don’t want to give up this house but it’s inevitable given the circumstances and if it’s going to go to anyone, I could not imagine a more perfect family to live the same dream that I had here just 3 short years ago.

I want you to know a few things…

We bought this house from a crazy lady. Truly. Crazy. The chicken wire in the carport? Yeah, about that…there was a fence there when we bought the place, but crazy lady decided to take it with her the day we closed. But now that I’m having to let the house go, too I wonder if some of her crazy was because she lost it. I kinda get it now, though I’m not gonna steal the rest of the fence, I promise.

My sister and I painted every wall in this house. We sang along to the same 5 songs they played over and over on the radio, Bulletproof, Love the Way You Lie, I Like It, Teenage Dream, DJ Got Us Falling in Love, and we laughed and loved every minute of it and anytime I hear one of those songs, I am immediately taken back to breezy August nights standing in the blue room with the windows open, my hair pulled back into a ponytail and a paint brush in my hand. Little did we know my sister was pregnant with the twins at the time. Those paint fumes… apparently you can still have healthy babies after sucking them in for weeks.

The color in the kitchen – that bluish-purple-periwinkle is my favorite color. That kitchen was a candy apple green when we bought it and it was bad.

The zebra door – I was 4 months pregnant when I painted that, and when I heard you say that you love the it? That was it for me. Done, sold, the house was yours, I would have let you move in right then and there.


The light fixture in the yellow bedroom, my baby’s nursery turned big-girl-room – that was a hideous fixture with yellow glass panes that was hanging in the dining room when we moved in. And when we replaced the dining room light, I had a vision, I knew I could make the 80’s gold and glass fixture pretty. So I sat for hours in the living room stringing lights onto stretchy fishing line after figuring out the exact number of red and clear beads it would take to make it all the way around. I spray painted the base in the carport and I put it all together for my brand new baby girl’s room. Oh, and FYI, that bedroom was neon pink and purple when we moved in. We called it the disco room.

nursery light

The chandelier in the master bedroom came from my parents’ dining room, I grew up with that lamp hanging over my head during big meals and year after year of coloring Easter eggs with my family. And when my parents decided to put in something new, I snatched that baby up from their garage and gave it a facelift. I love that chandelier.

The downstairs bedroom was once called the poo room due to an unfortunate choice in paint colors before it was repainted the next day to the deep blue it is now.

The downstairs bathroom has a floor tile that I swear has Abraham Lincoln’s profile in it. Look hard, you’ll see it eventually.

Please love the washer and dryer as much as I do, I would make out with them if I knew they would reciprocate.

The backyard was truly a labor of hate. When we moved in there was a ‘fountain’ next to the big shed made out of a bucket, some cement and 100,000 mosquitoes. There were dying plants, flowers and weeds everywhere and 15 birdhouses hanging from the back fence filled with bees. That took a lot of sweat, blood and tears to take care of. But I kept the rose bush on the side trellis because when it blooms, it is absolutely breathtaking.

Enjoy the neighbors because they are all awesome…yes, even Simon, the guy 2 doors down who waters his front yard with nothing but a beach towel wrapped around his waist. Watch out for the skunks when it starts getting dark. And I hope you never have to know the fear we did to have to figure this one out, but the nursing home behind the house can be a blessing if you need to call 911 and they’re already over there taking care of someone else. Make friends with Brian and Simona at the end of the block, they are amazing friends and their kids get excited walking past the house trying to see if they can see us on their almost daily walks before dark. The garage sales around here are amazing. The park on Harrison west of Washington is better than the one on Flora. Though the corner with the willow trees at the far end of the Flora park is one of my favorite spots in this entire world.

willow trees

Hang your Christmas lights the day after Thanksgiving. Every neighbor will either do the same or follow suit in the next few days. It’s kind of become a competition. Repeat after me –










I left the Christmas lights on the Japanese-something-or-other tree on the side of the house for you. Well, ok maybe not for you, more so because I wrapped 15 strands of lights around that little tree like a mummy casing and couldn’t get them off. Sorry about that.

There’s a gnome figurine in the tree by the shed. Literally in-the-tree. Someone put him there before we moved in, right in the ‘v’ where the tree sprouts in 2. When we first spotted him, we could see everything but his shoes that had grown into the trunk. Today, his head is barely visible. It’s crazy how much that tree has grown in 3 years even though it looks exactly the same as it did when we moved in.

Promise me you’ll sit on the driveway with your little ones and draw their little body outlines with chalk. Blow hundreds of bubbles into the sunset. Sit and watch the fireworks on the 4th of July, you can see them from the front yard. And fill the house with laughter. Spin your kids around by their hands so fast that their feet leave the ground. Run through the sprinkler with your kids till you’re covered in goosebumps. Scare the shit out of them when you play hide and seek. Have dance parties in the kitchen in your pjs. Above all else, remember to smile more than anything else you do in this house, it’ll change your new house, these sticks and bricks, into your new home with a pulse and a soul.

Congratulations, you’ll love it.

Yours truly,




Filed under home

3 responses to “sticks and bricks

  1. This touched my soul. I know what it’s like to lose hopes and dreams because of a painful and unanticipated change in direction. I know the relief of moving on even when your direction and destination is uncertain. And I know the power that comes from setting new goals and reaching them after time has healed those old wounds.
    There is no doubt in my mind that you will build yourself your own new safe haven in time and that it will be better than you can ever imagine now.

  2. I never post on blogs ever, but I have been following you for a long time (actually went back and read every one of your posts, love your writing) you should have printed it out and left it for them, it’s beautifully written and shows the true emotions of what you are/were going through. So Sorry you had to sell your house, but know there are only good things in store for you and your family. I wish you all the best. You will have amazing memories no matter where you live.

  3. Creen - Colleen

    Oh no 😦 I’ve been following you since WB and this is so sad 😦

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